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Iowa

Iowa Knife Laws

Iowa knife laws are not as simple as a lot of people think. Although many knives are allowed in the state, numerous restrictions still exist.

Iowa Knife Laws Quick Look

Preemption? No

Concealed carry? Not for all knives.

Open carry? Yes.

Schools? No.

Off-limits places:

  • School buildings, activities, assembly, and environment.
  • School bus.
  • Courthouses and courtrooms.
  • Public transportation.
  • Public houses.
  • Subways.
  • Parks.

Length & critical dimensions: The normal blade length for knives in Iowa is 5 inches and shorter. Legal knives with a blade length of more than 5 inches cannot be carried concealed without a weapon permit.

Legal Types of Knives in Iowa

Knives that are legal according to Iowa law include the following:

  • Balisong Knives.
  • Switchblades.
  • Automatic Knives.
  • Dirks.
  • Daggers.
  • Stillettos.
  • Stabbing Knives.
  • Disguised Knives.
  • Lipstick Knives.
  • Belt Knives
  • Cane Knives.
  • Bowie Knives.

Illegal Types of Knives in Iowa

Iowa allows the use of all types of knives, except ballistic knives. It is also illegal to conceal carry legal knives with a blade length of 5 inches or more without the required state permit or license.

Iowa Knife Ownership Law

The ownership of all legal knives is allowed in Iowa, except ballistic knives.

Iowa Knife Carry Laws

The possession of a knife and how you carry the knife are very important in Iowa. They include the following:

Iowa Knife Open Carry Laws

Open carry of legal knives is not restricted in Iowa.

Iowa Concealed Carry Laws

Concealed carry of knives in Iowa is not as straightforward as in other states in the USA. Legal knives with a blade length of more than 5 inches are prohibited for concealed carry except the owner has a state license to conceal carry them. Some of the knives that fall under this restricted category include the following:

  • Switchblades.
  • Daggers.
  • Stiletto.
  • Balisong Knives
  • Cane swords.
  • Lipstick Knives.
  • Disguised Knives.

Iowa Laws for Different Types of Knives

Iowa defines various types of knives in the state and the laws governing each one of them. They include the following:

Iowa Switchblade Knife Laws

Even though the Iowa knife statute does not clearly define switchblades, they are still regarded as dangerous weapons. In the same vein, Iowa knife statues are not clear as to whether gravity knives and assisted opening knives will get the same concealed carry restrictions as switchblade knives.

Iowa Ballistic Knife Law

Iowa statues refer to ballistic knives as offensive weapons, and they are defined as knives with a blade that is detachable and propelled by any device operating with either a spring, compressed gas, or elastic material.

Iowa Dangerous Weapon Knife Law.

Iowa categorizes knives such as switchblades, stilettos, razors, and daggers, or any legal knife with a blade length of 5 inches or more, as a dangerous weapon.

Daggers that have a blade length of 4 inches are still considered a dangerous weapon in Iowa.

Iowa Knife Law by Size

The accepted blade length for concealed carry in Iowa is 5 inches or less. To carry legal knives with a blade length of more than 5 inches, you need to first obtain a state permit.

Relevant Iowa Knife Law Statutes & Penal Codes

Statutes, laws, and penal codes in Iowa that as to do with knife usage, possession, open and concealed carry, include the following: 

  • 702.7. Dangerous weapon
  • 724.1. Offensive weapons
  • 724.4. Carrying weapons 
  • 724.4A. Weapons free zones-enhanced penalties 
  • 724.4C. Possession or carrying of dangerous weapons while under the influence 
  • 724.28. Prohibition of regulation by political subdivisions 
  • 724.32. County courthouse-weapon prohibitions

Iowa Knife Offenses, Defenses, Restrictions & Penalties

They include the following:

Exceptions for Law Enforcement and Military

Iowa, like most states, provides an exception for law enforcement officers, members of the military, peace officers, National Guard members, and correctional officers.

This exception will allow them to possess firearms in off-limits areas and also conceal carry knives that are not within the required blade length. However, these exceptions are only allowed during official duties.

Restrictions

Iowa knife laws restrict the possession of knives in some areas. Some of this include the following:

  • It is a prohibition to possess knives in places that clearly have signs that restrict the usage of weapons within their premises are regarded as weapon-free zones.
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives around school buildings and premises. The closest you can be to these places while in possession of a knife is one thousand meters.
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives in school buses or vehicles conveying school students
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives within a university campus or within the venue of an event organized by any of the three universities in Iowa.
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives in or around a courthouse.
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives in game-houses and casinos.
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives in any public gathering, events of fairs that are approved by the government of Iowa
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives in any professional sporting event.
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives in any place if you are drunk or under the influence of a hard substance.
  • It is a prohibition to possess knives anywhere that is restricted by federal law.

Penalties for Offenses

  • The penalty for the possession of a weapon that Iowa statute defines as offensive, or illegal weapons like a ballistic knife is a jail term of about 5 years imprisonment and a payable fine between the range of $750 to $7,500 depending on the severity of the offense.
  • For violating concealed carry law with an unpermitted conceal carry of switchblades, stiletto, razor, or dagger, the offense will be regarded as an aggravated misdemeanor and will carry a jail term of up to 2 years’ imprisonment, with a payable fine between the range of $625 and $6,250.
  • For unpermitted concealed carry of a knife with a blade length of more than 8 inches, the offense will be regarded as an aggravated misdemeanor and will carry a jail term of up to 2 years’ imprisonment, with a payable fine between the range of $625 and $6,250.
  • For the unpermitted concealed carry of a knife with a blade length that is shorter than 8 inches, yet longer than 5 inches, the offense is regarded as a serious misdemeanor that will carry a penalty of 1 year in jail and a payable fine between the range of $315 and $1,875.
  • For the possession of a knife that is defined as a dangerous weapon, while intoxicated with alcohol, the offense is regarded as a serious misdemeanor that will carry a penalty of 1 year in jail and a payable fine between the range of $315 and $1,875.
  • If any of the aforementioned violations take place in an off-limit area, the offender will face a penalty of fine that is two times more than the normal violation.

Iowa Knife Law FAQs

Some of the most frequently asked questions and answers about Iowa gun laws include the following:

  • How Long Can a Knife Be in Iowa?

Iowa allows any blade length for legal knives in the state, however, the issue is with the blade length of the knife for concealed carry. To conceal carry a legal knife with a blade length of more than 5 inches, you must own a state permit.

  • What types of knives are legal to carry in Iowa?

All types of knives are legal in Iowa except ballistic knives.

  • What types of knives are illegal to carry in Iowa?

Iowa prohibits the use of ballistic knives in the state. Without a permit, it is also illegal to conceal carry knives such as switchblades, daggers, stiletto, razors, balisong knives, cane swords, lipstick knives, disguised knives, etc.

  • What about legislative and/or constitutional issues?

Local ordinances are allowed for knife laws in Iowa, hence, municipalities, districts, cities, and counties can have stringent knife laws that are generally accepted in the state.

  • Can I sell or transfer ownership of a knife in Iowa?

Iowa allows the sale and transfer of legal knives in the state.

  • Is it Illegal to scare someone with (brandish) a knife in Iowa?

Iowa statute prohibits the brandishing of knives or any dangerous weapon to threaten or put the safety of someone at risk. Anyone guilty of brandishing in Iowa will be prosecuted.

  • Can a minor carry a knife in Iowa?

Minors are only allowed to carry knives that are deadly weapons. The required age to obtain a permit for a knife is 21 years old, 18 years old for a professional permit. However, exceptions are allowed for hunting and fishing activities in the state.

  • Are swords legal in Iowa?

Cane swords are legal in Iowa.

  • Are switchblades legal in Iowa?

Switchblades are legal in Iowa, but for concealed carry of a switchblade with a blade length of more than 5 inches, you need a license.

  • Are folding knives legal in Iowa?

Folding knives are legal in Iowa, but for concealed carry of a folding knife with a blade length of more than 5 inches, you need a license.

  • Are fixed blade knives legal in Iowa?

Fixed blade knives are legal in Iowa, but for concealed carry of a fixed blade knife with a blade length of more than 5 inches, you need a license.

  • Are butterfly knives legal in Iowa?

Butterfly knives are legal in Iowa, but for concealed carry of a butterfly knife with a blade length of more than 5 inches, you need a license.

  • Are automatic knives legal in Iowa?

Automatic knives are legal in Iowa, but for concealed carry of an automatic knife with a blade length of more than 5 inches, you need a license.

  • Are ballistic spring-assisted knives legal in Iowa?

No, Ballistic knives are illegal in Iowa.

  • Are throwing knives legal in Iowa?

Throwing knives are legal in Iowa, but for concealed carry of a throwing knife with blade length of more than 5 inches, you need a license.

  • Are karambits Legal in Iowa?

Karambits are legal in Iowa, but for concealed carry of a karambit with blade length of more than 5 inches, you need a license.

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